Saturday, August 30, 2008

First/Second Week of School

I started school with my girls this week and this was my second week of school with the boys. I am using the Heart of Dakota curriculums ( , Little Hearts for His Glory with the Boys & Preparing Hearts for His Glory with the girls. School with the boys is going really well, while we have not gotten into a scheduled routine, they seemed to have gotten into the groove of things and we are finishing school in 1 hour...YEAH. While not perfect our first week of school with the girls, it went relatively well. I think Abigail should really be in Bigger, but because of financial restraints that is not possible right now. She is doing well; however, and I simplify for her. I think I should have her checked out for a visual learning disability. She still struggles with "b" & "d", reverses numbers (12 for 21) and writes almost all her numbers backwards. She is a smart girl though but easily frustrated and a "Perfect Paula". My sociable sue is thriving with school and I really think we are going to enjoy this year. I am reteaching handwriting this year. I never spent the time to make sure it was done well before and we are going back to italic so my 6, 8 & 10 year old are all on the same page. Well nothing really exciting to report still need to figure out what to do with my toddler, but I have some ideas rolling around.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Therese's Muffins

These are soy free, egg free and dairy free and absolutely yummy.
2 cups flour (I use whole wheat flour)
1/3 c sugar (I use sucanat)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (I recommend 1/2 tsp salt)
1 c milk (T uses goat's milk for her ds)
2 Tbsp oil of your choice
4 Tbsp natural applesauce (or you could use 1 egg)
3/4 c blueberries (I use frozen)
1/4 scant cup dried cranberries

Oven at 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix wet ingredients in smaller bowl. Mix dry and wet together just until moist. Stir in fruit. Spray or grease muffin tin or muffin liners. (They will stick to the paper.) You can substitute orange juice for the milk but it will make them alittle rubbery - but tastey nonetheless.

Bake regular size muffins at 400 degrees for about15-25 minutes? Sorry. I can't remember. I wait until they are slightly brown on top and see if they spring back in the center of the muffin. If so, they are done.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Organizing my School Room

Someone in my Little Hearts for His Glory Yahoo group is creating a website to help homeschoolers get organized, learn about curriculum etc. Since I have been reorganizing my school room, I thought I would post some pictures and talk about how I have organized. I know, yawn, yawn.

Our school room is actually what used to be our dining room. We have a large kitchen with and eat-in area, so don't really need a dining room. Here is a picture of my husbands and my computer desks, because the lamp was on the flash didn't go off. My desk is to the left and my husbands desk is to the right. (If you click on the pictures you can see a bigger version of them)

To the right of my computer desk is a two drawer filing cabinet with my printer/copier/scanner on it (a must for every homeschool if you can). Before this year I had a notebook that I would put my daughters' work in, but sometimes it wouldn't get in it promptly and would get lost, dirty torn etc. Since I have to hand in a portfolio to the school district every year, this is important. This year I made up a file for each subject and then put a folder for each child in that file. Then as they finish their work I can file it (more likely to do) until I am ready to assemble their portfolio.

I love to look at people's bookshelves. It is probably one of the first things I do when I go to someone's house, so instead of a distant shot of my bookshelves I thought I would try and get some closeups in case you want to try and check out titles (I did do a couple of distance shots for a couple of my bookshelves. I have four 6' to 7' bookshelves in my school room.

You can't see the titles to clearly in the above picture but this is my landmark book collection. Great history reads for the 5th -8th grade age.

This is the top shelf of one of my bookshelves. it contains student Bible materials & books, homeschool & child help books and Christian biographies.

The second shelf of this case contains the books that we are using this year (LHFHG, PHFHG & Handbook of Nature Study, MUS). The Teacher books are laying on their side in a stack. The rest are texts. My children each have their own bin in which they keep their school supplies and workbooks. ( I haven't organized that desk yet so don't have a picture) in which they keep their particular books.

The third & fourth shelves contains other years Teacher's manuals (again on the side) and then the my history and geography books as well as atlases and dictionaries. I did have my books organized dewey decimal but that just wasn't working for me. So this time I organized them by era (which we will be studying them by) All Ancient resources, craft books, biographies and other books on the era are together, same with Middle Ages & American History. I see now that I have taken the photo that my children have already started to mess up my shelves again.

This shelf is under my landmark books. It is my science shelf organized by types of science: Physics, Chemistry, Earth & Sky, Biology, inventors ( I decided not to include them in the history section) and field guides. They are very tight and I definitely need more room.
Here we have our Character Sketches (because I haven't found a good bplace for them yet) alon with my art books, folklore, poems, and music books (again biographies of the composers are included in this section rather than the history section to make it a bit simpler)

This bookshelf is my reading bookshelf. It contains my literature books (Dickens, Austen, Alcott etc) my Junior Fiction and Easy readers. The bottom shelf are my husbands books and I told him he needs to build himself a bookshelf because I will soon be kicking them off ;)

Here is my ever important set of World Book encyclopedias. I used to have a set of Britannicas (they had belonged to my husbad when we got married), but did not like them (I grew up with World Book)

This used to be a pass through window to our kitchen which my husband blocked off (he is a contractor by the way). Here I keep more of my paperback books as well as CD's & tapes (and there is a puzzle in that can).

Below are a couple of drawers in my four drawer filing cabinet. They each have a large plastic bin (with a lid if I can find them) and a metal bin. In these drawers I keep my craft and basic school supplies.

The last of my book shelves in my schoolroom contain the "adult" section of our home library. This has our Bible Reference, herbal medicine, sewing, Christian Fiction, christion living and field guides.

I hope you have enjoyed touring our school room. I will try to get a picture of the children's area when I have it organized.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lemon Pepper Filets on a Bed of Mushrooms & Spinach

2 Gortons lemon Pepper or Garlic Butter Grilled Filets (I use just whiting or talapia with my own lemon pepper or garlic butter on top)
2 TBSP butter or margarine
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 packge (10oz) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp groun black pepper

Cook fish according to package directions.

Meanwhile in a 10 inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat and cook onion 2 minutes.
Add mushrooms and garlic and cook 4 minutes or until tender.
Add spinach, salt & pepper an continue cooking 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve hot fillets over spinach mixture.

Makes 2 servings.

30 Minute Taco Bake

30 Minute Taco Bake
from Kraft

1lb of ground beef
1 pkg Taco Bell Home Originals Soft taco dinner kit OR
1 pckg of soft flour tortillas, packet of taco seasoning & taco sauce
1 pckg Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Brown meat; drain. Add Seasoning Mix and 3/4 cup water. bring to a boil, reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occassionaly.

SPRAY 12X8 inch baking dish (I use a 9X13) with no stick cooking spray. Line baking dish with 6 tortialls; sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheese; top with remaining tortillas. drizzle with taco Sauce.

BAKE at 350 degree F, for 15 minutes. sprinkle with remaining cheese. bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Where's Nathanael

I think I now know why (after 5 children) that young children only think you can see them if they see you. We teach them that at an early age....I was playing the game where you throw a towel, washcloth, small blanket (something light that won't suffocate them) etc over your 1 yo face and say "Where's Nathanael?" you or he pulls it off and says "There he is?" and they love it, but they also can't see you and probably think that you can't see them. Well it's a theory anyway!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Catching up!

It has been ages since I have blogged and my readership (large as it was ;) ) has probably disappeared (except for Jen, she is always so faithful....waving at you Jen) Anyway, our summer is winding down to an end and we will be starting school in a little more than 2 weeks.

I did something drastic regarding school this year. I am always a planner in this area and usually have all my curriculum picked out and purchased before the end of May. I had that done this year. I was going to use MFW for Em & Ab, something I had always dreamed of doing, I had everything purchased, it looked like a great curriculum except for a couple of things (no curriculum is perfect) For some reason I was not excited. I am going to use Little Hearts for His Glory by Heart of Dakota for my boys (1st & K)....very excited about that and I kept looking at the curriculum that was coming out this year....and it looked great, but that would mess up my 4 year history cycle. Well I kept reading the HOD boards and learning about the new curriculum that was being planned for next year and it sounded wonderful (almost perfect), so I prayed about it, consulted my dh and ds (dear sister) and did something I never did before....3 weeks before I am to start school, I sold my dream curriculum and purchased the HOD curriculum !!! I am VERY EXCITED about it! Can't wait until it gets here and when we can start.

We finished our Summer Reading program on Monday. They had a huge party with a game show. My daughter Em & Son Zach were both contestants (they did it according to grade, so they weren't contestants at the same time). Emily did very well, her only problem was she wasn't quick on the button. It was Zach who surprised me most (although it shouldn't have). He was not shy at all, quick on the button and knew the answers and he won his round! It was so funny to see my little boy (okay he is 6) just holding his own.

Not a very good picture, but you get the general idea (he is the one behind the green triangle all the way up front on the left

I did end up having a garden this year, not a huge one but we have some corn, green beans, tomatoes & cukes. I also have some herbs, mint & dill that grew back from last year, echinacea...did extremely well, lemon balm, calendula & basil.

I did get all my state requirements for homeschool done this year, so we are all ready for the coming season, both girls have to be tested for their grades so we will be doing that in the fall.

Not much else comes to mind. Hope you all are having a good summer.